Information Bulletin of the BRICS Trade Union Forum

Monitoring of the economic, social and labor situation in the BRICS countries
Issue 39.2022
2022.09.26 — 2022.10.02
International relations
Foreign policy in the context of BRICS
Forging Ahead, Renewing Momentum, Co-Building a More Robust China-SA Relationship (Движение вперед, возобновление импульса, совместное построение более прочных отношений между Китаем и ЮАР) / South Africa, October, 2022
Keywords: political_issues, cooperation
South Africa

By Chen Xiaodong, Chinese Ambassador to South Africa

October 1st marks the 73rd anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. It is a great pleasure to celebrate the occasion with our guests and friends from all walks of life both online and offline, in token of the friendship between China and South Africa.

Over the past 73 years, Chinese people of all ethnic groups, led by the Communist Party of China (CPC), have created two miracles of rapid economic development and long-term social stability.

Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the Party Central Committee, with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core, has led the Chinese nation to win the battle against poverty, build a moderately prosperous society, and embark on a new journey towards the Second Centenary Goal.

In recent years, China's GDP has been growing by 6.6 percent on an annual basis. This contributes over 30 percent to world economic growth. With a resilient economy, sufficient potential and wide room for manoeuvre, the fundamentals of China's long- term economic growth have not changed, and will stay unchanged.

China's total GDP has reached US$17.7 trillion, and our per capita GDP has increased to over US$12 500. We have built the world's largest education, social security and health care systems. We have eliminated absolute poverty, which is unseen before in the human history. The Chinese people are marching forward on the path towards common prosperity.

This is the new journey featured by green development and innovation. China has been pushing ahead with its goal to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. China's afforestation area accounts for about 1/4 of global planted forests. China's installed capacity of wind power, photovoltaic power and other green power rank top in the world.

And so does the production and sales of China's new energy vehicles. China's global innovation index ranking has risen to the 12th place. The C919, a large domestic aircraft, is about to be delivered. The Shenzhou 14 crew has carried out two extra- vehicular activities. China's strategic scientific and technological power is growing at a high speed.

This is a new journey of openness and shared benefits. China believes in sharing the fruits of development with the world. For years, China has been the world's largest trading country, with the total value of goods import and export reaching US$3.85-trillion from January to August this year, up by 10.1% year-on-year.

We have facilitated the entry into force of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) to build the world's largest FTA. In the future, China will provide more development opportunities for all countries, including South Africa, with a shorter negative list, a better business environment and a larger market.

In the face of the world's peace deficit, President Xi Jinping has put forward the Global Security Initiative (GSI), which advocates a vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, follows the philosophy that humanity is an indivisible security community, and aims to create a new path to security that features dialogue over confrontation, partnership over alliance and win-win over zero-sum.

To bridge the development gap between the North and the South, President Xi Jinping has proposed the Global Development Initiative, and announced a series of programs such as the Global Development and South-South Cooperation Fund, and increased input in the UN Peace and DevelopmentTrust Fund, boosting and complimenting the growth of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), to provide strong impetus for the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

These two important initiatives mentioned above have received positive support and warm response from more than 100 countries and many international organizations. Under the great leadership of President Xi Jinping and President Ramaphosa, and with the strong support of friends from all sectors, this year we have witnessed our two countries' comprehensive strategic partnership developing with higher quality, in broader areas and at deeper levels.

With the two heads of state steering the course, our bilateral friendship has continued to deepen. This year, our two presidents have spoken on the phone and exchanged letters for several times. They have jointly attended the BRICS Summit and the High-level Dialogue on Global Development, and reached broad consensus on strengthening bilateral solidarity and cooperation.

The two sides signed the "Ten-Year Strategic Programme on Cooperation (2020-2029)", which provides a comprehensive guidance to the development of China-South Africa relations under the new circumstances. Practical cooperation in economy, trade and investment is flourishing with fruitful results. From January to August this year, the two-way trade between China and South Africa increased by 9.2% year-on-year against headwinds, reaching US$38-billion.

China has been South Africa's largest trading partner for 13 consecutive years. Chinese enterprises have created 400 000 jobs in South Africa, and will create another 20,000 within three years.

The "Nine Programs" of FOCAC are being carried out in South Africa, including the feasibility study of the small harbour project, a pilot village for cooperation on poverty reduction, a project for comprehensive utilization of water resources in the Mzimvubu River, etc.

With close coordination at multilateral level, we have opened up new horizons of solidarity and cooperation. China and South Africa have always practiced true multilateralism, and safeguarded world fairness and justice.

Since China took over the rotating BRICS presidency this year, South Africa has granted us great support. And the two sides have worked side by side on multilateral occasions to safeguard the legitimate rights and common interests of developing countries.

China-South Africa cooperation sets pace for China-Africa relations and sets an example of solidarity and cooperation among developing countries.

Here, I would like to thank in particular the South African government, political parties, parliament and friends from all walks of life for reaffirming their commitment, through various ways, to the one-China principle and their support for China's legitimate stance and measures.

The year 2022 is of great significance in the political life of both China and South Africa. The CPC will convene its 20th National Congress on October 16 to draw a blueprint for the country's future development. Not long ago, the Communist Party of South Africa successfully concluded its 15th National Congress. In December, the African National Congress will hold its 55th National Conference to draw a roadmap of reform for this century-old party of South Africa.

Next year, China and South Africa will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the diplomatic relations, and South Africa will take over the BRICS presidency. The China-South Africa comprehensive strategic partnership is facing new historical opportunities. China is ready to work with South Africa to implement the important consensus of the two presidents, further enhance political mutual trust and increase mutual support.

We will expand cooperation in new energy, 5G, digital economy, e-commerce, smart cities and other new industries. China welcomes exports of more high-quality products from South Africa and will carry out the "Nine Programs" of FOCAC. We will further enhance exchanges and cooperation in the fields of culture, education, science and technology, health and military, so as to bring the two peoples closer together.

China will give full support to the work of South Africa as the BRICS Chair next year, and we will jointly safeguard multilateralism and international justice.

As an African proverb goes, only those who are traveling on thesame path are true friends. Standing at a new historical startingpoint, let us unite in good faith, seek common development, andjointly promote the building of China-South Africa and China-Africa community with a shared future.


China's BRICS Presidency 2022: Iinitial Results (Председательство Китая в БРИКС в 2022 году: предварительные итоги) / Russia, October, 2022
Keywords: chairmanship

Tatiana Bokova, Intern of the Russian National Committee on BRICS Research – special for InfoBRICS

BRICS is an important mechanism of partnership between emerging markets and developing countries, as well as an effective platform for South-South cooperation. Since the creation of this mechanism, the BRICS member countries have passed over the changing global landscape and have become an influential association that cannot be ignored in the international arena.

The third round of BRICS presidencies began in 2019. And for China, 2022 was its third BRICS presidency, a period in which the country serves as "host "for the summit of the five heads of state. Over the past few decades, China has made remarkable achievements in various fields such as economics, trade, science and technology, while it took hundreds of years for developed countries to industrialize. Consequently, China's role in BRICS cooperation is extremely significant.

This June, China, as the BRICS presidency, held its 14th summit of BRICS leaders by videoconference, the theme of which was "building a high-quality partnership to usher in a new era of global development". They organized the regular meeting to strengthen strategic contacts between the five countries and creating a more comprehensive, close, pragmatic, and inclusive partnership of the group.

In the context of China's BRICS presidency, the government intends to hold over 100 events that will cover more than 30 different areas. Focusing on this major theme, the list of priorities of the Chinese presidency includes strengthening international cooperation in combating pandemics; deepening economic collaboration (including trade and investment, scientific and technological innovation, green and low-carbon development); promoting economic recovery; fostering effective pragmatic cooperation; strengthening political and security coordination (including implementation of the BRICS Counter terrorism Action Plan); and speeding up implementing the UN Sustainable Development Agenda for the period up to 2030.

"As important emerging markets and major developing countries, the BRICS nations should take responsibility and take action to bring positive, stabilizing and constructive forces to the world. It is necessary to uphold justice, equality and solidarity and reject hegemony, bullying and division," President Xi Jinping emphasized in June 2022.

This year is indeed the actual "Year of China" of the BRICS. With active support from all sides, China, the BRICS presidency this year, has so far successfully held over 70 conferences and events covering political security, economy, trade and finance, interpersonal and cultural exchanges, sustainable development, health, etc.

The history of China's presidencies

China is actively developing trade, economic, and financial cooperation within the BRICS framework. Some mechanisms in different areas were created at China's initiative or received an additional impetus for development during its chairmanship. Consequently, China's BRICS Presidency has a positive trend towards progress.

The first presidency of the People's Republic of China was held in 2011. For example, during this period, they launched a dialogue between the state and business in the format of the BRICS Business Forum. Moreover, the Chinese side invited its partners to expand the settlement in national currencies in mutual trade and to strengthen loans. As a result, the BRICS Interbank Cooperation Mechanism was established and a memorandum on cooperation between state financial development institutions was signed, which was an important step in the promotion of long-term interbank collaboration between the partner countries.

The next presidency was in 2017, the theme of which was "BRICS: strengthening partnership for a serene future," which meant deepening practical economic cooperation among the five countries; improving global governance and institutional development of the BRICS association. During this period, the foundations were also laid for the headquarters of the New Development Bank of the BRICS, and the five-year development strategy of the NDB was adopted. During its presidency, China approved the framework for economic and foreign trade cooperation, the basic principles of trade and investment promotion, and the first meeting of the BRICS Mechanism for protecting Intellectual Property Rights was held.

Another feature of the 2017 presidency is the development of the "BRICS Plus" concept for cooperation with the emerging countries of the South. China was guided by the idea of forming a "circle of friends" of the BRICS, with which interaction would be carried out permanently rather than on an occasional one. In general, over time, this vision has been strengthened, and today, this idea continues to be implemented by China and other member countries.

Thus, look at the preliminary results of China's progress in promoting BRICS cooperation during its 2022 presidency.

Promoting the expansion of BRICS. In recent years, many countries, such as Egypt and Argentina, have expressed their desire to join the BRICS. And this issue is also on the agenda during this year's Chinese presidency. On May 27, at a regular press conference, they brought the topic of BRICS enlargement up for consideration, which provoked heated discussions in many countries.

Maintaining peace and security. At present, the deep-seated impact of the Ukraine crisis continues to manifest itself. In the context of this situation, China has actively communicated and coordinated with other BRICS partners, jointly expressed aim and fair views on major international and regional issues, and united BRICS forces to oppose hegemonism and camp confrontation. Moreover, on May 17, the Consultation of BRICS Deputy Foreign Ministers on Middle East Affairs adopted a joint statement expressing the common voice of the BRICS nations to maintain peace and stability in the Middle East and promote just and reasonable solutions to thorny issues.

Cooperation in combating the epidemic. Public health and vaccination is one of the key areas of BRICS cooperation this year. For example, on March 22, there was a successful online launch ceremony for the BRICS Center for Vaccine Research and Development and a workshop on Vaccine Cooperation. Taking part countries also jointly started "Strengthening Vaccine Cooperation and Building a Line of Epidemic Protection".

Cultural Exchange. Under the Chinese presidency, this year officially launched the first BRICS professional skills competition on high-tech manufacturing, digital economy, new industries, new formats, new technologies and other areas, with over 20 competitions with thousands of participants. In May 2022, the 7th Meeting of the BRICS Ministers of Culture was held, which resulted in the signing of the Action Plan to implement the BRICS Intergovernmental Agreement on Cultural Cooperation (2022-2026) in order to deepen the protection of cultural heritage of the five countries and the qualitative development of the Cultural Art Alliance.

Development of trade and economic cooperation. On June 9, the Twelfth Meeting of the BRICS Ministers of Economy and Trade was organized, during which the Joint Communique of the Twelfth Meeting and the BRICS Statement on Strengthening the Multilateral Trading System and WTO Reform were endorsed. Member countries agreed to further strengthen cooperation in the areas of the digital economy, trade investment, sustainable development, and the supply chain based on these documents. Regarding trade collaboration in agriculture, at this meeting the parties also signed the BRICS Strategy for Food Security Cooperation, which will help eliminate poverty, reduce social inequality and overcome the global food crisis in the post-pandemic era.

In this section, financial coordination and its development should also be highlighted. On April 8, China hosted the first meeting of the BRICS finance ministers and central bank governors. China, Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa discussed such topics as the macroeconomic situation and policy coordination, financial payment systems, investment in infrastructure, and the success of the New Development Bank. The five countries' prospects include strengthening policy coordination and practical partnership in the financial sector.

Consequently, the BRICS countries complement each other's strengths, continue to harness the potential of cooperation, expand areas of partnership, and become a model for emerging markets and developing countries to achieve self-improvement through unity.

As 2022 BRICS presidency, China proposed to comprehensively deepen cooperation in economy and trade, finance, innovation, digital economy, green development, and poverty reduction and alleviation. China-driven interaction within the BRICS mechanism has yielded many practical and important preliminary results. From leaders' meetings to ministerial meetings, from relevant working groups and consultation mechanisms in various fields to specific projects and activities, China has held over 70 conferences and events in these areas.

South Africa, Brazil, Russia and India appreciate China's BRICS presidency in 2022 and express their gratitude to the Chinese government and people for hosting the 14th BRICS summit. The five participating countries have glorious prospects for cooperation and only together can they contribute to implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other areas of BRICS partnership.

Indonesia's booming economy may become major element of BRICS — expert (Бурно развивающаяся экономика Индонезии может стать важным элементом БРИКС — эксперт) / Russia, October, 2022
Keywords: brics+

It is noted that Russia as a whole would welcome Indonesia's more active involvement in BRICS structures

MOSCOW, October 6. /TASS/. Indonesia as a country with a booming economy and a major demographic potential is capable of becoming an important element of the international association BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) both as a friend and as a full-fledged member, the general director of the Russian International Affairs Council, Andrey Kortunov, told TASS on Thursday while commenting on Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko's statement Indonesia would like to become a BRICS member.

"Indonesia can become one of the candidates for BRICS membership. That country enjoys special attention, because it holds the rotating presidency of the G20 and possesses a major and booming economic and demographic potential. There are solid reasons for considering it as a potential member of BRICS. The way I see it, this possibility will be discussed next year," he said.

Kortunov drew attention to the two alternative concepts of the association's further development.

"There is an idea of expansion, that is, admission of other countries, such as Indonesia and Argentina. Some mention countries in the Middle East," he continued. "And there is a concept called BRICS+. The group's membership will not grow, but will create an opportunity for other countries to join in different formats depending on their needs and capabilities."

Kortunov believes that if Indonesia joins BRICS, this will mean that the organization is developing in the classical way, while if BRICS+ prevails, then other countries, including Indonesia, will be able to take part in individual programs and areas of BRICS activity in accordance with their own readiness and the readiness of the main members.

The expert noted that Russia as a whole would welcome Indonesia's more active involvement in BRICS structures, even if this complicated certain areas of the association's work somewhat.

"Russia is interested in the expansion of the organizations in which it participates. This is a means to resist attempts at isolating Russia from world politics," he stressed.

At the same time, Kortunov acknowledged that BRICS, unlike the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), was growing rather slowly, but at the same time was a symbol of new global trends.

"The association's members are countries that are not geographically close to each other. They are located on different continents, and in this sense the association differs from the SCO and the European Union," he said. "At the same time, we should not overestimate the role of BRICS, because each of the countries that participates in BRICS is deeply integrated - economically, politically and strategically - into its regional systems and subsystems. In this sense, of course, it is not a full-fledged integration group."


BRICS is an informal interstate organization that includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The acronym BRICS is derived from the member-countries' names in English. The organization seeks to develop comprehensive cooperation among member countries in the economy, finance, education, science, culture and other areas. The BRICS countries have a major potential for economic growth. They occupy about 30% of the globe's dry land and account for more than 40% of the world's population, almost half of the world's wheat and rice production and about 15% of the world's gold reserves. Their aggregate GDP at purchasing power parity exceeds 54%.

World of Work
BRICS Cardiovascular Health Center Inaugurated in China's Xiamen (Центр сердечно-сосудистых заболеваний БРИКС открылся в китайском городе Сямэнь) / China, October, 2022
Keywords: social_issues

The BRICS Cardiovascular Health Innovation Center was inaugurated in Xiamen, east China's Fujian Province.

The center was established in the Xiamen Cardiovascular Hospital, affiliated with Xiamen University.

According to Wang Yan, president of the hospital, cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in the world. It is important to strengthen cardiovascular exchanges and cooperation among BRICS countries to reduce cardiovascular mortality.

Wang said the center would serve as a platform to carry out cooperation projects such as providing international medical services for cardiovascular health, developing talent training and promoting academic exchanges among these countries.

The center is expected to recruit eight to 10 visiting scholars from BRICS countries to receive cardiovascular training in Xiamen.

At the inauguration ceremony, the hospital signed a letter of intent with Apollo Hospitals Group, one of the largest medical groups in India, to carry out in-depth cooperation in medical technology, clinical research, talent training, academic exchange, and smart hospital.

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